A donation from Rotary has allowed West Pittwater RFS brigade to replace two fire hose nozzles that were damaged in last year’s bushfires.
The West Pittwater Rural Fire Service (RFS) brigade is based at two stations, Lovett Bay (North) and Elvina Bay (South), which are only accessible by boat or fire trails. The brigade has two category seven tankers but is also known for its fire fighting boat which responded to the ‘Lilypad Palm Beach’ houseboat fire and is also used to assist with rescues.
The brigade’s two tankers, Elvina 7 and Lovett 7, were deployed in last summer’s catastrophic bushfire season to fires on the South Coast, Southern Highlands and Gospers Mountain. Fighting those blazes resulted in damage to special fire and fog nozzles from both vehicles.
The Rotary Club of Upper Northern Beaches learned of the brigades need for replacement equipment when Captain Andrew Cutler gave a presentation to the club about his efforts last summer.
Captain Cutler spent 26 days on deployment starting at the Longnose Point fire in Pittwater before heading to Tenterfield in northern regional NSW and working his way south in stints of one to seven days. His deployments included the Gospers Mountain Fire, the Southern Highlands around Bargo for the Green Wattle Fire before ending up near Cooma in late January 2020.
A total of seventeen other West Pittwater RFS brigade members were also deployed for between one and ten days during the last bushfire season, often not with their own appliances.
For periods during last summer, the brigade had neither of their trucks available to them locally, using water bladders and pumps mounted on trucks to give them fire coverage.
Captain Cutler told Rotary the scale of the fires became apparent to him when he brought a yacht back from the Sydney to Hobart race and had to navigate by GPS due to the smoke obscuring visibility of land from Wineglass Bay in Tasmania to Bangalley Head at Avalon Beach.
The new fire and fog nozzles were purchased with a $2,300 grant and presented by the Rotary Club of Upper Northern Beaches to the West Pittwater RFS brigade on Saturday, 06 February, at a special event at their Elvina Bay station, at which 21 members of the brigade were also awarded special Bushfire Emergency Citations from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian for their role in last year’s bushfire season.
Members of West Pittwater RFS receiving the nozzles from Rotary – L-R: Geoff Nimmo; Jon Matthews; Greg Hurst; Melinda Broughton; Deputy Captain Kylie Stackhouse; Deputy Captain Paddy Broughton; Rotary Deputy Community Director Raylene Jarvis; Captain Andrew Cutler; Deputy Captain Pat Warne; Andrew Derijk.